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Remorse and the College Admission Scandal’s Stiffest Penalty to Date

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Douglas Hodge, is the former CEO of Pimco, a company you might know about if you pay attention to your workplace retirement funds. PIMCO is one of the cornerstone investments on the bond side, in other words, the safety play. You make your risky bets on the equity mutual funds. Bonds are like the sure thing.

So of course you’d figure to see a guy like Hodge caught in the college admissions scandal.

When you want to insure your four White kids of uncertain academic and personal qualifications get into their elite college of both their choice and yours—and you want no risk–you simply pay the price.

You pay out bribes.

And for that a federal judge on Friday gave Hodge the stiffest penalty against any of the parents involved in the massive scandal—nine months in prison.

The fourteenth of 20 parents sentenced so far,  Hodge reportedly told the judge, “I have in my heart the deepest remorse for my actions… I do not believe that ego or desire for higher social status drove my decision making. Rather, I was driven by my own transformative educational experiences and my deep parental love.”

In other words, I guess he really meant: I will cheat for my kids because I love them.

Oh, and also because he really didn’t think he would get caught.

Emil GuillermoEmil Guillermo

Hodge could have been even more direct. An honest Hodge could have said something like this:

I love my kids so much I will do whatever I can, including bribing people to lie about my kids’ real qualities and abilities. It’s the best way to assure they can get an unfair advantage and win placement to these elite schools over other more deserving students, some rich, some poor, some white, some people of color. That’s a diverse group. But my money trumps diversity. And gets me and my kids what they need. An elite college diploma to certify their privileged lives.

I wouldn’t want them to earn anything on their own. That’s hard. That takes work.  I am a retired bond fund manager, sitting on a pile of cash.  I believe in safety. I believe in the slow, sure  way to wealth. I want my kids/ admission assured. No risk to them. So I will pay the price. Oh there’s no real risk to me, like I said.  Because I am a heralded bond fund manager. And where there’s risk, we hedge. We win both ways. Besides, I’m  a white elitist to boot. What do I have to fear?  I’ve done this for four of my seven kids. My fifth child awaits the same treatment.

All of this because I have had  my own transformative educational experiences. I went to Dartmouth in 1979. And then Harvard for business school. I am educated in the ethics of the American elite. My children deserve their place as my legacies. And my money shall assure that with these payments in this college admissions scheme. And it works!

My fantasy? But that’s what I heard  when I read from Hodge’s statement.

His mention of remorse was mere lip service. He’s like the guy driving his Ferrari 95 mph in a 65 mph zone and doesn’t get a ticket 99 percent of the time.

And then one day he does.

Hodge deserves all he’s getting. Maybe even more.

And  yet, after the Trump acquittal celebration/ coronation on Thursday in the White House, I feel kind of sorry for Hodge.

His only real crime is that he wasn’t the president.

That should make him and most White capitalists want to work even harder in the future.

They can’t all get their way whenever they want. Someone has to pay the price and do some jail time for corrupt values and ethics, every now and then.

Is this what Trump learned at Wharton? What Hodge learned at Dartmouth College and Harvard Business School? Thumb your nose at the rule of law when it profits you? Go ahead and take your chances because as an elite white person you know how justice is applied in this country?

Maybe too it’s time to think what role, if any, higher ed played in their values development. What’s the difference between right and wrong? Did they miss those lessons?

Let’s see what kind of time Hodge spends. Will he meet with a different class of people who got more time for a lesser crime?

Will he get a diversity lesson that may be the one truly transformative educational experience he missed in college?

At the very least, let’s hope he understands it would have been OK if his kids ended up at the local JC for two years with a transfer junior year to a solid state school. In his home state, California, there’s lots of them.

In the end, they all have daddy’s money behind them still. Except now, for the wrong decisions, daddy is a convicted felon.

Emil Guillermo is a journalist and commentator. He writes for the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund. You can follow him on Twitter @emilamok.

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